Alaska Monitoring and Assessment Program 2014 Offshore Oil and Gas Survey (Simpson Lagoon)

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and the University of Alaska Fairbanks are conducting an Offshore Oil/Gas Wastewater Study. This study will be performed in state owned oil and gas lease regions in the Beaufort Sea and is primarily funded with qualified outer continental shelf oil and gas revenues by the Coastal Impact Assistance Program, Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. Additional support was provided by North Slope Borough/Shell Baseline Studies Program and EPA Clean Water Section 106 State Monitoring Strategy Implementation funds. The views and conclusions reported are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the opinions or policies of the U.S. Government. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute their endorsement by the U.S. Government.

The purpose is to determine baseline concentrations for hydrocarbons and trace metals in key prey of anadromous and marine fishes inhabiting Beaufort Sea estuaries. This information will aid DEC in issuing and implementing Alaska Pollution Discharge Elimination System Permits for oil and gas exploration activities within State waters. Our sampling will include:

  • Water column parameters (temperature, salinity, pressure, DO and pH) and suspended particulate organic matter.
  • Invertebrate and fish tissue samples for hydrocarbon, trace metal, carbon and nitrogen isotopes, and fatty acids profiles.
  • Sediment core sample for hydrocarbon and trace metal accumulation.

Although hydrocarbon and trace metals in Beaufort Sea sediments have been studied before, there have been limited studies of baseline hydrocarbon and trace metals and biological transfer between Beaufort Sea estuary fish and their key prey species. Knowledge gained from this study will help us further understand and protect this ecosystem.